• 32°

Spencer gets preview of Park Plaza

SPENCER — The Spencer Board of Aldermen got its first look at a revamped Park Plaza on Tuesday night.

Keith Wales of Studio Wales Architecture presented designs and architect’s renderings of what the finished municipal complex would look like.

“We’re very excited to present our vision tonight,” Wales said.

Much of Wales’ presentation was spent going over designs for the property’s future park — which will occupy space near South Salisbury Avenue. The green space would be, in many ways, the heart of the project.

“The town wanted to bring back the park,” Wales explained. “There once was a park, and then it became parking — and we want to take it back that way.”

The park will preserve an old tree in the area, lined with alders and filled with other trees to provide lots of shade and to prevent passers-by from seeing straight through the park to another parking lot. Wales referred to the area as “an oasis.”

“We don’t want it to become a barren wasteland of grass,” he said. “We want to make sure there’s plenty of shade for everyone.”

The design for walking paths in the park was inspired by subway systems and the national layout of the Norfolk-Southern Railway system, with Spencer at its heart.

“Spencer becomes kind of the center gathering place for this system,” he said.

The park will also feature a pavilion inspired by the design of train engines.

When it comes to the municipal complex itself, everything is designed with the comfort, safety and ease of Spencer residents in mind — from a wall separating the booking and interview rooms in the Police Department to placing two closely related municipal departments in the same office space to planting holly trees outside the police chief’s window to deter snooping.

When the space is finished, town offices will occupy only about 8,000 square feet of the 20,000 square feet purchased. The rest will be available for lease. But leased spaces, Wales explained, were set up in such a way that the town could easily repurpose them with some quick upfitting.

“This will allow you to expand without any major renovation,” Wales said.

Town board members said they were impressed with the designs.

“You’ve done a fine job,” Mayor Jim Gobbel said. “Gosh, it’s just very nice.”

If all goes according to plan, Wales estimated that the town should be able to put out construction bids by early July and begin construction by fall. The existing shell should help speed the project along, as well.

“Hopefully, it’ll be a very fast process for you all,” he said.

In other business:

• Aldermen voted to close streets and waive security deposits and rental fees for vendors during this year’s October Tour.

• The board agreed to partner with Life Church in funding transportation for North Rowan Elementary School’s summer camp. The board voted to pay about $1,200 toward transportation costs.

• Police Chief Mike James cautioned residents to lock their car doors and to not leave valuable items in cars after a rash of vehicle break-ins in the area.

Contact reporter Rebecca Rider at 704-797-4264. 

Comments

Education

Rowan-Salisbury Schools on a three-hour delay Friday

Local

Friday newspaper deliveries may be delayed

Books

Tonight’s Bright Star Theatre performance rescheduled to March 10

Business

Event planned to empower women

Local

Missing man found safe

Entertainment

Meet the cast of PPT’s youth production of Romeo & Juliet

Check this out

Rowan weather: Snow this afternoon

Education

Schools closing 2 hours early

College

College women’s basketball: Struggling win for Catawba

College

Johnson, Daniels help NC State rout No. 6 Duke, 88-66

Elections

Democrats running for state Senate talk legislature’s role in Confederate monuments

Kannapolis

Duke University doubles office space at NC Research Campus in Kannapolis

East Spencer

East Spencer’s Alisa Russell continues to be inspired, inspire others

Education

Fifth-graders get to enjoy state symphony during Catawba performance

Books

You matter to the 2020 Census

Education

Educators say parents should start thinking about pre-K now for 2020-2021

Education

Local artist speaks to high school students about his life and art

Entertainment

Opening reception for ‘Art in Nature’ Friday

Entertainment

N.C. Transportation Museum Hosts Pirate Day Feb. 29

Books

Bestsellers (2-23-20)

Entertainment

LSt and St. Thomas Players present ‘The Trip to Bountiful’

Entertainment

Local arts & entertainment news Feb. 20-26

Entertainment

Roundabout: What’s happening Feb. 20-26

Columnists

D.G Martin: Politicians often capitalize on book sales